Purdue Writing Lab (Site Review)

If you are commenting on a student paper, editing, or writing, you might like the Owl Purdue site as a reference. It is easy to search. It is also a reliable source of information on many issues related to writing.
An example is how the site provides an overview of the use of the comma. I feel I can always use a refresher on the proper use of a comma and think maybe we all could use a refresher. So, let’s see what the site has to say about what should be our friend – the comma. The following comes from the https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/punctuation/punctuation/index.html site.

Use a comma to join two independent clauses and a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, for, nor, so).

  • Road construction can be inconvenient, but it is necessary.
  • The new house has a large fenced backyard, so I am sure our dog will enjoy it.
Use a comma after an introductory phrase, prepositional phrase, or dependent clause.
  • To get a good grade, you must complete all your assignments.
  • Because Dad caught the chickenpox, we canceled our vacation.
  • After the wedding, the guests attended the reception.
Use a comma to separate elements in a series. Although there is no set rule that requires a comma before the last item in a series, it seems to be a general academic convention to include it. The examples below demonstrate this trend.
  • On her vacation, Lisa visited Greece, Spain, and Italy.
  • In their speeches, many of the candidates promised to help protect the environment, bring about world peace, and end world hunger.

Use a comma to separate nonessential elements from a sentence. More specifically, when a sentence includes information that is not crucial to the message or intent of the sentence, enclose it in or separate it by commas.

  • John’s truck, a red Chevrolet, needs new tires.
  • When he realized he had overslept, Matt rushed to his car and hurried to work.

Use a comma between coordinate adjectives (adjectives that are equal and reversible).

  • The irritable, fidgety crowd waited impatiently for the rally speeches to begin.
  • The sturdy, compact suitcase made a perfect gift.

Use a comma after a transitional element (however, therefore, nonetheless, also, otherwise, finally, instead, thus, of course, above all, for example, in other words, as a result, on the other hand, in conclusion, in addition)

  • For example, the Red Sox, Yankees, and Indians are popular baseball teams.
  • If you really want to get a good grade this semester, however, you must complete all assignments, attend class, and study your notes.

Use a comma with quoted words.

  • “Yes,” she promised. Todd replied, saying, “I will be back this afternoon.”

Use a comma in a date.

  • October 25, 1999
  • Monday, October 25, 1999
  • 25 October 1999

Use a comma in a number.

  • 15,000,000
  • 1614 High Street

Use a comma in a personal title.

  • Pam Smith, MD
  • Mike Rose, Chief Financial Officer for Operations, reported the quarter’s earnings.

Use a comma to separate a city name from the state.

  • West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Dallas, Texas